Put Some Joy Into Your Fitness

Put Some Joy Into Your Fitness

You don’t need to choose function over fun

By round of applause, who’s excited about their daily (or intended daily) workout? Crickets? But do you get excited about beach volleyball, pickleball, dancing, hiking …? Hobbies can be fun and physical!

Fitness-life balance

The buzzwords in today’s workplace include “work-life balance.” The phrase refers to the need for workers to have enough personal time outside of work so they are effective, engaged, and motivated workers while at work.

The same balance is necessary for your workouts to be effective, when considering fitness and your life. In fact, the stakes are perhaps higher when it comes to your workout and fitness choices, because unfocused and disinterested workouts can result in injury.

Find strength in sport and health in hobby

It’s a commonly asked question: “What is the best exercise to keep you heathy?”

Well, what do you think the answer is? CrossFit? Barre class? Yoga? High-intensity interval training? Low-impact steady-state training? The real answer is simple: the best exercise to keep you healthy is the exercise that you’ll actually do!

There is a well-established and commonly understood connection between exercise and positive mental health. Less studied and understood is the significant positive correlation between positive mental health and exercise adherence. But, sure enough, it works both ways!

This means that just as some people can spiral downward into negative mental and physical health, they can also lift themselves upward toward positive mental and physical health! The key is to find an activity that you enjoy doing and that still gives you bang for your buck.

Healthiest hobbies

Here’s a taste of some fun activities, caloric expenditure, and physical benefits (which, as we know, also carry mental health benefits).


Gripping, bending, walking, lifting, stretching: gardening has it all, not to mention the mental benefits of taking care of plants, the mental exercise of planning over space and time, vitamin D, and fresh air. And you can burn a similar number of calories as you would at a fitness facility—“… there is a gym outside many a window,” as Sir Richard Thompson, past president of the Royal College of Physicians in London, UK, once said.


Depending on your sex, whether you walk or ride a golf cart, and how many holes you play (not to mention how many balls you have to go looking for), you can burn between 531 and 2,467 calories, on average, per 18 holes. Include hand-eye coordination, core strengthening, and “one-with-nature” benefits, and you’ve got one heck of a healthy hobby!


The average 65-year-old burns about 350 calories per 60-minute doubles match. Not only that, but cardiovascular conditioning, flexibility, and hand-eye coordination are all challenged in this most enjoyable tennis adaptation.

By Brendan Rolfe

Article copyright 2023 by Alive Publishing Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

BetsyHealth Note: This article is for educational purposes only. Be sure to check with your health care provider before trying any new physical activity to be sure you are in appropriate health for that activity, especially if you have a medical condition.

Photo by cottonbro studio:

Back to blog